Brooks Freaking Koepka

Four majors in your last eight starts is just plain stupid.

Jim Rome
May 20, 2019 - 9:53 am
Brooks Koepka

USA Today

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Four majors in a lifetime is incredible. Four majors in twenty-three months is freaking ridiculous. Four majors in your last eight starts is just plain stupid. And yet for some reason, Brooks Koepka still does not get a ton of love. And when he started to bleed out on the back and Dustin Johnson, the drunks, errrr gallery at Bethpage couldn’t wait to pile on Koepka and jock D.J. And why is that? Because everyone loves a train wreck and Koepka looked like he was on the verge of pulling off one of the biggest tank jobs ever.  Or is it because they were never with him in the first place.

Which brings me back to the question: how the hell does a guy with four majors in his last 8 starts not get more love and run than he does? How are people not losing their collective bleep over it the way they did when the big cat was tearing it up? Because Koepka is doing thing that Tiger did when he was the most famous athlete in the world.  And I’m trying to figure out why?

Is it because he shredded the course the first few days? Because he shot 63-65 and absolutely dominated your idol, the cat? Is that why you’re pissed? Because of that absolute ass-kicking he put on Woods. Because he personally packed up El Gato’s weekend mock turtlenecks and sent him back to the yacht early on Friday. Is that why you’re pissed. Or is because Brooks and Tiger walked and played beside each other for 36 holes this week. And Brooks smoked Tiger by 17 strokes. 17 strokes. They are ass kickings. And then there are curb-stompings. And that was nationally televised curb-stomping. Is that why you’re pissed.

And I’m talking about alleged golf fans. You know, ones who saw Koepka smoke the field the first two days, and cry about how stupid his hat looks. 

Like you’re bent that this guy is that dominant. That it’s all soooo boring. Right. Except it was just a few weeks ago, grown men were sobbing and embarrassing themselves when Tiger won at Augusta… then Koepka goes out and out-Tigers Tiger and a lot of you are like, borrrrrrring.  It’s great when Woods is doing to someone else; then, it’s the best thing ever. But when it happens to your guy, then the guy doing the curb stomping wears a stupid hat. 

And again, when he showed the first sign of weakness on the back nine, and it started to get away from him, fans started openly rooting against him. When he was on that run of four straight bogies, fans were shouting “choke” at him, chanting Dustin Johnson’s name, and reportedly screaming vulgarities at Koepka’s girlfriend.

Koepka, tough as hell, took it all in stride: "It's New York. What do you expect when you're half-choking it away?"

His playing partner, Harold Varner III, though, wasn’t impressed by the galleries: "It's a pretty crazy day. I thought it was pretty weird how they were telling Brooks to choke. That's not my cup of tea. I was pulling for him after that. I have a few choice words for that."

Either way, it appeared we were on the precipice of an all-time choke job: not just for that sport but for any. And it involved the last guy you’d expect to see in the middle of it. I mean, damn, could it really happen? Is this machine, this golfing terminator, actually breaking down?

Because we’ve seen that movie before. The leader on the back nine on Sunday makes a bad shot, then two, and all of a sudden, he’s taking on water, and then he drowns. But not yesterday. Not with Koepka. Even with the gallery screaming at him, he turned it around.  The gallery didn’t rattle him, it reset him. It didn’t break him, it gave him the jolt he needed, quote: "I tell you what, the hour spent from No. 11 to 14 was interesting. When they started chanting, 'DJ' on 14, it actually kind of helped, to be honest with you. I think it helped me kind of refocus and hit a good one down 15."

Just as it looked as if he was going to pull off a choke for the ages, he did what legends do, he dug deep and found a way. That’s why he now has four trophies. Golf is hard. Major golf is tough. Brooks Koepka is tougher.

That showed when Dustin Johnson, one of the best golfers on the planet, had a look and couldn’t finish it off. Again. Again, it’s easy to bash Johnson. And I have. And will again. That dude has way too much game, and stick, to be sitting on just one major.   There’s a reason he has one and Brooks has four. But that said, he did enter the weekend as the number one player in the world. And when he made that run, he had every drunk behind the ropes chanting his name. And he still flinched. Because that’s what the pressure of a major does to people. And Johnson knows that better than anyone else. .

But not Koepka.

He likes fuel. But that doesn’t mean galleries should be giving it to him. I’m not going to tell you how to root or who you should root for, but you should give the man his respect. He’s earned it.

And that is insane to me. If you’re going to kill someone like James Harden for not winning a ring, then you should be naming your kids after Brooks Koepka for winning four.

In two years, he went from being tied with you and me on the all-time major winners list at zero, to blowing past Jordan Spieth, Vijay Singh, and Ernie Els, and being one behind Phil Mickelson. Phil Freaking Mickelson. A guy who has had one of the all-time great careers in golf and Koepka just pulled him behind him on the winner’s list. Curtis Strange and Ben Crenshaw? Really good golfers. Koepka’s doubled them up.

Tommy Fleetwood, really good golfer right now, is already looking at Koepka as a model: “Brooks gives us something to aim for. In a good way it will pull us all up to be better. Definitely for me, to have a guy like Brooks to look at, to want to know what he’s doing that’s better than me, it’s only going to help. It’s only going to help my career to have that to aspire to. It’s a good thing at the moment….I think.”

And it’s not like any of this was pre-ordained, either. He wasn’t a huge star in college. He had to work his way to the tour, and now when he wins, people find a reason not to like it. Why? What part of this tournament do you want to hold against him? Was he too dominant early on or are you going to try to complain that he nearly didn’t finish it in the end?

Or is it because he plays his cards close to his vest? Really? You mean the same exact thing your idol the cat did. Besides, are you looking for a great golfer or for a friend? Brooks Koepka’s job is to be a golfer. And he is damn good at it. Already one of the all-time best and it’s time for you to admit that.